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Timing/rhythm worries

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Amphetachronism, Jun 21, 2005.

  1. Hey. I'm a pretty new player (About two months' experience, self-taught, as bass teachers around here are as common and expensive as gold dust, so that's not an option unfortunately). I'm getting on well in regards to theory and playing scales, cycle of fifths, chords, wrapping my brain around modes, etc.
    My problem is timing, and keeping a rhythm or pulse going. I own a metronome, but as soon as I decide to practice something in-time, I flick on the metronome and my brain suffers some kind of colossal meltdown... whatever I had in mind flies away and all I seem to be able to do is count the ticks in my head. 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4... it's extremely frustrating as I know full well how important timing and rhythm is to bass players.

    Are there any techniques or exercises I can work through to get me playing in-time? I've looked through the links thread, loads of useful theory info but not really that much on timing. Understandably, as it really is a very basic thing to learn... unless you're me.

    Don't say I should play guitar, please :(

    Thanks for any help,
    Name that is too long
  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Start by playing only one note in time with the beats of the metronome.

    Once you're comfortable with that, try alternating between two notes in time with the metronome.

    Repeat as necessary. There's nothing to "learn" - it's just a matter of getting used to it.
  3. Well, bugger, here I was hoping for a fast-track, no effort solution ;)

    Nah, common sense prevails, no gain without graft. Good job I'm willing to put the effort in :)

  4. Just make sure you dont go too far the other way, like me :) I can groove just fine in 4/4, but I can't count the beats in my head while I'm playing. That's fine for 4/4 stuff, because I can just feel the beats, but playing odd measure stuff like my band is doing now is a problem for me. Usually when I try to improv a groove I slip back into feeling 4/4 because I can't count 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 or something while I'm playing :rollno:

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, learn to feel the beat but don't forget how to count ;)
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Actually, what Christopher says IS the fast-track solution. The slow track solution is to keep trying to do it without building yourself into it.

    Just sit there playing one note per click at several tempos for about a minute each. Start at around 100, then build up in increments of ten until you can't go anymore. Then go down in increments of 10 until you reach about 40 bpm, still playing one note. You wouldn't believe how being able to play slowly like that will help your timing at normal tempos.

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